Memphis Flyer: “Metamorphosis” at Crosstown Theater

Published on April 27, 2022 by Abigail Morici       |      Share this post!

Third Coast Percussion was excited to bring their collaborative work Metamorphosis to Memphis for another memorable experience.

In Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, for reasons outside of his control, Gregor Samsa wakes up one day as a giant creepy-crawling critter — some say a cockroach — so Gregor has to navigate the world as a giant bug, which as you can imagine is quite an isolating experience. This isolation, in turn, leads to a bleak ending with neglect, hatred, and ultimately death. After going through a year of isolation ourselves, much like Gregor, it’s likely that some of us have a pretty bleak, Kafkaesque outlook on life. But for others, isolation brought new values and a refreshed will to create, learn, and collaborate. This latter case was true for the Grammy-winning percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion and Movement Art Is, founded by dancers and choreographers Jon Boogz and Memphis’ Lil Buck.

When in-person interactions could not take place with the two groups based in Chicago and Los Angeles respectively, they worked together over many Zoom meetings to create their own Metamorphosis, a much more hopeful performance that explores the experiential lens of young Black men growing up in America today. “It’s about the dancers as the main characters — them growing and discovering who they are through their experiences through their life,” says Jenny Davis, music department manager at Crosstown Arts, where the show will be performed on May 3rd.

In this performance, the street-style, popping and Memphis jookin’ choreography by Lil Buck and John Boogz is transferred onto different bodies — dancers Cameron Murphy and Quentin Robinson — so that the dancing itself represents how one artist’s energy becomes absorbed and translated by another. Meanwhile, the dance will be set to Third Coast’s interpretation and reimagination of music by contemporary composers, electronic artists Jlin and Tyondai Braxton as well as Philip Glass. Such modern classical music, Davis points out, “is really fascinating because it’s influenced by all these other genres, too.”

With this blending of different styles and interpretations of music and dance, Davis says, “I think that’s inspiring to see how things that kind of exist separately can work together.”

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